Let’s start with your name & what you do?
My name is Alex Perkins and I am a freelance graphic designer.
Big question first, do you remember the first album or single you ever bought?
It was actually Sam’s Town by the Killers, I remember it had that amazing grey and white cover. That album actually started my collection of CD’s. Recently I bought a Parkway Drive vinyl but I don’t actually have a vinyl player, I just thought that the cover was amazing!
You’re a graphic designer, how do you define what it is that you do?
I’m the person who will bridge the gap between strategy and creativity. So I find that balance between the companies services and the customers using them and I then create their visual brand.
Tell me a bit about what it was that you were doing before you decided to set up your own business.
I worked for a youth charity that was helping young people into employment through The Prince’s Trust which was when the idea first clicked in my head, I was seeing all these young people coming through with amazing business ideas but they hadn’t thought about their branding and design at all. This coincided with my second year at uni which was when I really fell in love with branding and started to do a few small jobs and logo designs for people.
You’re a member of The Wrexham Enterprise Hub, how did you become involved with the space?
When I was in my last year of uni one of my lecturers was doing some work with the team at Town Square and he was really adamant that his students got their work out to the public and gained experience. So we held an exhibition of our work at Bank Street Social and it was an amazing night and I loved that our families and the public got to give us feedback and I really wanted to do more of it, so Adam told me to go to the hub and see what was on offer.
Since then most of my clients and a lot of my best work have come from Town Square. It’s such a great place to meet clients because of how professional it is and you just walk in and there’s so many businesses who you can collaborate with or that you can help out. The community is so great because everyone is always offering to help each other.
For you what is the relationship like between a business and their brand?
Well if you take for example Mike from Opening Barriers. When he goes and talks to people he’s able to get the clients and the work because he’s very passionate about what he does and is great with the service users, so all the information about his business was already there. The next stage is for a graphic designer to step in and take that information and visually communicate the message. I think a lot of people mistake a logo for a brand, when in fact the logo is an identity not a brand.
You’ve worked with a whole variety of businesses from entertainment companies to charities, how do you find the unique voice and brand for each client?
For me personally I always set myself a 3 week timescale where I completely immerse myself in their world to understand the relationships between them and their clients. Continuing with Opening Barriers as an example I actually met some of Mike’s services users and found out the details of their individual stories and how their lives have changed since they started working with Mike which really informed a lot of my later choices.
Looking at competition is always important too. So with The Booze Brothers their customers were already saying great things about them and because it wasn’t a world I was already knowledgable about I researched similar brands, so WKD have a tone of voice that is great for light entertainment and parties, so rather than be intimidated by huge brands I like to take inspiration and learn lessons, because so much of why they’re popular is their design work.
Is there a specific company or an industry that you would always point towards as being a marker of excellence when it comes to branding?
I always say car companies. When I worked in a petrol station I remember realising that when a BMW would pull up that I would instantly think to myself ‘they’ve got a bit of money’ and they’re part of that ‘BMW Club’ , it’s like the equivalent of being an athlete at the top of their game and I think that speaks so much to their understanding of who their audience is and what they want.
In your self employed journey so far, what’s the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned?
You will hear a lot of people across industry say “never do things for free” which is a tough one but some of the best clients I have today are ones I did some free work when I was starting out. I’ve been paid £5,000 for a job and £0 for a job but clients of each type are both equally as valuable as each other.
At the end of the day I think that advice is free and if you know something that can help somebody you shouldn’t hold it back. For instance in the hub I worked with the guys from Love Wrexham Magazine, they were making some promo materials and struggling to get their images to look right. So I sat down with them and helped them out, their not regular clients of mine but it was only an hour of my time and I was happy to help.
What’s next for you and your business?
So because of Town Square I have ended up working alongside Allan Longshadow of Wordworx & Sara of Arkle Marketing to figure out we can pool our talents together to create a project that will cover the copywriting, marketing and branding for companies. It was important for me to realise that I didn’t need to ‘one trick pony’ everything and I should learn how to pass tasks onto the people who are the experts.
Final question, Hollywood is going to be making the Alex Perkins life story, so who plays you?
I think it would have to be Jack Black, I just love him and his films so much!
If you’re interested in working with Alex, learning more about his story and viewing some of his work be sure to go follow him on